Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and President of the Central African Republic Faustin Archange Touadera pose for a photo during their meeting on the sideline of Russia-Africa summit in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia would aim to double trade with Africa over the next five years, at the opening of a summit aimed at reviving Moscow’s ties with the continent.

“We currently export to Africa $25 billion worth of food — which is more than we export in arms, at $15 billion. In the next four to five years I think we should be able to double this trade, at least,” he told African leaders at the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

“In Africa, there are very many potential partners with good prospects.”

Putin said the current level of trade between Moscow and the continent was “not enough”.

“African countries are attracting ever more attention from Russian businesses,” the president added, highlighting a number of major Russian companies that were already working on the continent.

Dozens of African leaders are in Sochi for the first Russia-Africa Summit, as Moscow seeks greater influence on a continent where the West and China have a firm foothold.

The two-day event will see more than 3,000 delegates prepare deals and discuss topics from nuclear technology to mineral extraction.

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